An Ohio grade-schooler has been removed from his mother’s custody after authorities declared that she was not making enough effort to bring the 200 lb eight year old down to a healthy weight.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the boy’s health has been monitored for a year, and although he began to lose weight initially, he has since put the weight back on, leaving critics to say that his mother is incapable of assisting him with a healthy diet and exercise.
The child’s mother disagrees, citing her participation in a “Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight,” program, and says that he is in no eminent physical danger. “‘They are trying to make it seem like I am unfit, like I don’t love my child,’ the boy’s mother said. ‘Of course I love him. Of course I want him to lose weight. It’s a lifestyle change, and they are trying to make it seem like I am not embracing that. It is very hard, but I am trying.’” She thinks that other siblings and children might be providing unacceptable food to her son, resulting in his new weight gain.
State agencies have been known to intervene in cases of child neglect involving malnourishment, but this is the first time on record that a group has stepped in and removed a child for being too obese. But with a vast percentage of the child population either overweight or obese, at what point, if ever, does intervention become acceptable? And if “saving” a child from future health risks like diabetes and heart problems becomes a reason for removing a child from his or her family, how does that not set the stage for removing them for other “future health risks,” such as a parent who smokes around his or her children?
The foster care agency says it believes it has made the proper decision for the third grader’s overall well-being, citing recent weight loss since he was removed from his home. But if he regains the weight, will he be returned to his mother, or just bounced to yet another home?
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